May 8, 2004
Airshow Photo Report
Story and photos by: Victor Archer
On Any Photo To Enlarge
officially dedicated on Saturday,
February 7, 1942, operations on Minter
Field actually began in June of 1941 with
the stationing of a small guard unit. By
early August 1941, multiple units began
moving onto the field and construction of
wooden buildings to house them
By October 1941, the field,
named in honor of local resident WWII
veteran First Lieutenant Hugh C. Minter,
had been established as a branch of the
Sacramento Air Depot.
By July of
1942, Minter Field had become the largest
training base of its type on the West
Coast, with nine additional auxiliary
landing fields in the valley. During the
course of the War, more than 11,000 Army
Air Corps Cadets graduated from Minter
Field, deploying around the world to fly
in all theaters of operations.
Today, Minter Field is
civilian airport serving the agricultural
community of Kern County, it bears little
resemblance to its roots as a United
States Army Air Corps base. The history
of the area is brought back to life each
year when the Minter Field Air Museum
hosts its gathering of flying military
history at the airport, "Warbirds in
airshow was held on the 59 anniversary of
V-E Day and started at 11:01 a.m. in
honor of the unconditional surrender of
German Forces at 11:01 p.m. May 8, 1945.
The show started with former
Reno Air racer, Eddie Van Fossen and
current air racer, Al Goss flying a tight
formation in their T-6s while J.R.
Smith pulled a banner with the American
flag in his bright yellow Stearman.
were the light trainers. There were five
planes in this group.
beautiful PT-17 in Yellow USN colors,
another very nice looking PT-17 in silver
and blue, bright red WACO UPF-7,
Fairchild PT-26 and a highly polished
RYAN PT-22. The 805th Navion Squadron was
next to fly. They had a group of four in
It was non-stop flying for
most of the afternoon. As one group would
get ready to come in the next was taking
off. Next a pair of Cessna L-19 Birddogs
and a little trainer I had never heard of
before a Varga Kachina made a few laps
around the field.
the Birddogs had cleared the runway Rob
Harrison went up in his Zilin 50 for a
short aerobatic performance. Before he
could land Eddie Van Fossen and Al Goss
were already up. This next group was
quite interesting. The program had this
listed as the heavy trainers; four
T6s a Nanchang CJ-6A and a
beautifully restored 1943 Beech D17S
Stagger Wing. More trainers then went up,
two T-34 Mentors and a T-28 Trojan.
Now for one of the
highlights of the day, a flight
demonstration of the F4U Corsair and the
A6M2 Zero! Everyone was waiting to see
these two fly. They made a few nice
passes and then a little dogfight scene.
It was really something to watch as the
Corsair repositioned its self
several times looking for that perfect
fighters! The other big highlight of the
day five Mustangs and a Centaurs powered
Sea Fury. It was great to see that many
Mustangs flying at one time. Almost like
Reno in fact most of these planes have
been to Reno at one time or another. Dan
Martins Ridge Runner and the Sea Fury
once raced as number 33 in the 1967 race.
Straw Boss 2, Man O War,
Comfortably Numb and another Mustang were
all in this group.
The big planes got a turn; a
Howard 250 (Lockheed 18 Loadstar) and a
B-25 went up for a few passes. Time flies
when youre having fun. The last
performance of the day Rob Harrison went
up in his Zilin 50 this time for the long
version of his aerobatic performance.
flying over for the day I needed to pick
up a souvenir or two for my boy and me,
so I headed over to the Warlock trailer
and got myself a hat and a shirt. I met
Randy Goss (son of Warlock pilot All
Goss) there and he let my son Jeff sit in
the pilots seat of the Warlock T6
definitely the highlight of his day!
Minter is a great little
place to go and there are always a lot of
warbirds to see. Not too many people,
easy to get in and out of and surrounded
by aviation history. This is one airshow
that I will go back to.
Minter Field Air Museum "Warbirds in
Action" Airshow will be held
Saturday, May 14. Gates Open at 8AM, with
the show beginning at 11AM and lasting
until 4PM. Admission for adults is $12.
Students (6-17) is $6. and children under
six years of age are FREE!
The show is held at the
Minter Field Air Museum, 401 Vultee Ave.
Shafter, CA 93263 (661) 393-0291. The
site is approximately twelve miles north
of Bakersfield, California.
further information, visit the website
for this show, located at: http://www.minterfieldairmuseum.com/
and photography by: Victor Archer